There is much more to the Umawera Hall's Kids' Pest Hunt that begins on Thursday than an effort to reduce the possum population.

It also represents a determined bid to raise some of the money needed to keep the hall ship-shape.

The hall was entirely community-owned, receiving no support from the district council, committee member Aaron Gubb said last week, and was in need of some serious maintenance, including roof repairs and upgrading the toilets.

Secretary Stephanie Oliver said that, even if only one small leak in the roof was repaired, it would cost an estimated $50,000.


Built in 1966, the hall has grown over the years, and remains a focal point for the community. It didn't get as much use as it might, Mr Gubb said, but was a venue for school holiday programmes, the local show day, school productions, funerals and birthday parties. It was also home to the Umawera Playcentre.

It wasn't lacking in size either, with enough room inside for a couple of bouncy castles. This week's pest hunt, for children aged three to 16, begins at 3pm on Thursday and winds up at the hall on Sunday with the weigh-in from 11am to 1pm, and prize-giving at 2pm. Tickets ($15) are selling at the Okaihau Butchery and Hunting & Fishing Kerikeri and Kaitaia.

Email, or text/phone Alister on (027) 356-9877 or Lance on (021) 251-0883.

There's a $500 prize for the most possums, prizes for heaviest and best-dressed, along with turkeys, peacocks, rabbits/hares and eels, while the weigh-inhas spot prizes worth thousands of dollars, auctions, raffles and a hangi, which needs to be ordered and paid for by tomorrow - email